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Chapter 13 reformation and puritanism
Chapter 13: Reformation and Puritanism


Reformation, the great 16th-century Christian revolution, ended the supremacy of the pope in Western Christendom & resulted in the birth of the Protestant churches. With the Renaissance to begin and the French Revolution to follow, the Reformation completely altered the medi-eval way of life in Western Europe & initiated the era of modern history.

2 conditions for reformation

A. nationalist sentiment against papal taxation & control reduced the powers of the church;

B. Wycliffe’s attack on papal act, priests’ moral standards; his Bible/ sermon in English;

C. papal officials’ greed, immorality, ignorance put papacy to blame;

D. humanist idea of Bible, rather than church as the source of religious authority.

Chapter 13 reformation and puritanism

Wycliffe’s writings later inspired Martin Luther, leader of the Protestant Reformation.

3 national movements

The Protestant revolution was initiated in 1517 by Luther in Germany, when he published his 95 theses challenging the theory and practice of indulgences, and spread to the Netherlands, Scandinavia, Switzerland, Scotland, England, and France when the three great churches were formed: Lutheran, Reformed, Anglican. Apart from them, many small sects also arose due to Protestant criticism of traditional authority.

Chapter 13 reformation and puritanism

Gutenberg Bible

The Gutenberg Bible is the first book known to have been created with movable metal type. It was printed by Johannes Gutenberg in Mainz, Germany, between 1450 and 1455. The advent of movable type increased the efficiency of printing and the number of books that could be produced. More books and a more literate population, in turn, enhanced the spread of ideas throughout Europe, fueling the 16th-century Protestant Reformation in Germany.

Chapter 13 reformation and puritanism

Martin Luther

German theologian and religious reformer Martin Luther precipitated the Protestant Reformation with his publication in 1517 of his Ninety-Five Theses, which detailed the indulgences and excesses of the Roman Catholic church. Luther felt that the essence of Christianity lay not in an elaborate organization headed by the pope, but in each person’s direct communication with God. Luther’s protest set off a flood of departures from the Roman Catholic church and set the stage for further Protestant movements, including Calvinism and Presbyterianism.

Chapter 13 reformation and puritanism

John Calvin

John Calvin established a new religion with strict codes of belief and behavior. Calvin taught the virtues of faith above good works and advanced the theory of universal priesthood, in which all Christians could practice their religion without the daily guidance of priests. Calvin also established the idea of the “Elect,” a preordained group of people whom God chooses for Salvation. Many European princes and citizens embraced Calvinism, and his ideas spread to other countries and sparked other major Protestant religions.

Chapter 13 reformation and puritanism

John Knox

In contrast to Calvin’s focus on the bourgeoisie, however, Knox preached the idea of the “Elect” to the peasant masses of 16th-century Scotland.

Later called Presbyterianism, this Protestant religion became a symbol of Scottish nationalism in the struggle against Catholic monarchs.

Chapter 13 reformation and puritanism

Henry VIII

by Hans Holbein

Hans Holbein’s famous portrait of Henry VIII shows the Tudor king as the quintessential Renaissance sovereign. Henry prided himself on his education and his patronage of humanist scholars such as Sir Thomas More, but his increasingly despotic behavior left a more enduring image. He is most famous for founding the Church of England and for having six wives, two of whom he had beheaded.

4 results of the reformation

A. power & wealth lost by the feudal nobility & the Roman Catholic church passed to the middle classes and to monarchical rulers;

B. various regions gained political, religious, cultural independence;

C. Individualism and nationalism in culture & politics developed;

D. protestant value judgment led to democratic governments;

4 results of the reformation1

E. medieval system of authority was destroyed;

F. removal of religious restriction on trade and banking stimulated capitalism;

G. national languages/literature advanced due to religious literature in everyday languages;

H. popular education was stimulated through new schools by protestants;

I. religion as an expression of people’s beliefs, not a special right of the clergy of the church;

Features of protestant development
Features of Protestant Development

A. To protest against church corruption as well as fundamental Catholic teachings;

B. Growth of secular learning, rise of rulers’ & citizens’ nationalism, resentment of pope’s authority made people accept Protestantism;

C. Luther’s attack on Catholic church’s sale of indulgences as an abuse of Bible;

D. As Protestant, Anglican Church created by Henry VIII had some Catholic defects;;

Particular beliefs practices in protestant church
Particular Beliefs & Practices in Protestant Church

A. salvation through individual faith, & not by performing good deeds, fasting in God’ favor;

B. the Bible as the sole authority;

C. priesthood of all believers, and its minister as one of the laity trained to perform some church functions;

D. with only baptism & the Eucharist, services, in native languages, being simpler, with focus on preaching;

5 puritanism

What are the particular features of Puritanism?

A. arising in 1600s within the Church of England to purify it;

B. its firm commitment to a morality, a form of worship, and a civil society strictly following commandments 戒律 of God is the essence;

C. conversion as central experience to turn the sinful soul, touched by the Holy Spirit, to holy;

D. its devotion to popular education;